In IELTS Speaking, pronunciation is the criterion which is most often neglected, overlooked, or taken for granted by candidates.
Marks for pronunciation in IELTS Speaking are 25 per cent of your total Speaking band score.
That is a lot of band score marks to throw away needlessly.
Much can be done by candidates to improve their pronunciation marks.
Here is how to make pronunciation a key strength in IELTS Speaking.
Pronunciation versus Accent
First let’s clarify the confusion most IELTS candidates have.
Are pronunciation and accent interchangeable?
However, there is a more crucial reason why some distinctions between these two concepts have to be made. The Cambridge Dictionary defines pronunciation as the way in which words are pronounced. Whereas accent is the way in which people in a particular area, country or social group pronounce words.
If accent varies from one geographical setting to another, pronunciation is supposed to unify the variations.
IELTS Speaking adheres to such idea. It is another reason way there is no prescribed accent in the Speaking test, although listening materials utilise a variety of accents from Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and U.S.A.
One important reminder: each of the aforementioned countries has a variety of accents. Some are clearer than others and are easier to understand and replicate.
Stick to the accent you are most comfortable and familiar with
Even if accent is not a determining factor for the IELTS Speaking Pronunciation criterion, it remains a significant element of the preparation strategy for every candidate.
Simply put, IELTS candidates must observe and learn how sounds are produced in different accents.
Next, practise producing them based on the accent easiest to recreate. Remember, IELTS candidates don’t have to sound exactly the way native speakers do. The goal is to pronounce clearly understood English sounds with a concrete basis.
In other words, IELTS candidates should select an accent to adopt and follow as a model. Then work on that accent as part of preparation for the IELTS Speaking test.
If candidates are worried about speaking with a thick accent. We, at www.passieltshigher.com, can always help you with accent reduction or neutralization. Click here for more details.
Master pronunciation as a second/foreign language user
IELTS Test examiners are mostly keen on intelligibility and accuracy of sounds. Besides, they all know speakers of English as a second or foreign language cannot sound exactly like native speakers – not even India’s and the Philippines’ call centre agents do this.
What is important for IELTS candidates to pronounce all the sounds accurately, have the neutral accent, and speak clearly.
As others put it, you can still achieve a native-like accent, or you can sound like a native.
Pronunciation is more complex than it seems. In checking IELTS Speaking performance, the following basic features of Pronunciation should be considered, to start with.
Here are three general guidelines.
- Study the sounds of English while taking note of some differences across accent variations. After all, there are not so many differences, not to mention that consonants are not affected by accent. In other words, just know the slight variations on how vowels are pronounced.
- Learn how such sounds behave when they are put altogether as words, phrases, and sentences. Some of the characteristics of spoken English include word and sentence stress, intonation, voice loudness, pause, breathing and timing.
- Pick the accent you wish to use as a base and practise it. For instance, if you are more familiar with American English, study, model, and, use its sounds as you Speak. Again, for the purpose of doing well in IELTS Listening, you still need to learn how certain vowel sounds are produced in British, Australian, among others.
You have just been introduced to the concept of Pronunciation within the premise of IELTS Speaking. And the real challenge has just begun. As we always say, it’s not enough to know you also need to do.
Our Speaking Programme is what exactly you need to fully practise and improve the way you sound to your maximum potential.